Olympics

I don’t pay much attention to sports, usually, but I’ve been wrapped up in the Olympics for the last couple of weeks, watching the various events most evenings.


May hands-down favorite sport in the Winter Olympics is short track speed skating, the ice equivalent of short track NASCAR racing, which I also follow.

Short track speed skating is pure sport, as far as I am concerned. Four men race each other in heats — no clocks, no style points, no nothing. It is racing, pure and simple.


Ski jumping is similar in its purity, judged by a single measure — who goes the farthest. The sport is beautiful, because a perfect form equals distance.

Simon Amman, the 2010 gold medalist, was particularly beautiful to watch in flight. He is so good that whenever he jumped, the take-off ramp was shortened because if he jumped from the planned ramp height, he’d end up in the parking lot.

I watch a lot of other events, as well, including individual figure skating. I don’t like it as well as other sports — it is judged and Scott Hamilton is a hopeless announcer, Daryl Waltrip without the appeal.

Men’s figure skating is, under the current scoring system, all about technical athleticism, the height of jumps and number of rotations. Beauty has become eclipsed. Johnny Weir is an exception — he is fluid and beautiful, if a bit over the top in his costumes.

He finished sixth in the Olympics, but scored a personal best with acombined score of 238.87. Weir is 25 now, and at the point where he will turn professional, working the ice follies circuit, so I’m glad I got to see him skate.

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